Last night, Hubby and I were lucky to spend a couple of hours with our grandkids while their mom and dad went out for dinner. We played some new games and read a couple of books. Time flew. We wondered if they were hungry for a snack, so I listed off the usual healthy choices that their mom told me about before she left: fruit, cheese and crackers, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, etc. Before I knew it, Grandson had his fist in the candy jar and pulled out a bunch of SweeTARTs in a variety of colors and flavors.
“Can’t you think of something healthier to eat?” I asked again, as I tasted one little SweeTART, which can make a person’s mouth pucker! Grandson said he’d like a sandwich with Nutella, which seemed like a healthier option. After I made it and Grandson devoured it, I put the baggie of SweeTARTs back in the jar and noticed squares of individually wrapped Ghirardelli chocolates sitting on the bottom.
“We could have a candy sandwich,” I announced, as Granddaughter laid a few little SweeTARTs on the kitchen table. I gave both of them a little square of chocolate and unwrapped my own. After I took a bite, a bit of sweet caramel came dripping out.
“Delicious,” I said.
“I didn’t know those were in there,” Grandson said. Yes, he wouldn’t have seen them since he just pulled the baggie out of the jar and didn’t look down toward the bottom, which is easier for me to see, since I’m still taller.
“Oh, whoops,” I said. Maybe their mom didn’t want me to take those. “It’s kinda like a sandwich with the squares and tarts all together.”
When the parents got back home, my daughter said, “How’d it go?”
“Not good,” I said jokingly, because the kids were supposed to have their pajamas on by the time they got home. We chatted a bit, while Daughter held Granddaughter on her hip. Daughter asked what the kids had for snack. She must have noticed the little bits of evidence on the counter.
“Candy sandwiches,” Granddaughter announced, loud and clear, with a big smile on her face. I guess we made a new invention!
Grandparents are there to help children get into the mischief they have not yet thought of. ~Unknown
A few mornings ago, four rabbits hopped around the backyard, not afraid or worried about our dog, Lila. Lila was inside the house at the time, but I thought animals pick up the scent of dogs and stay away from their yards. Ha! These rabbits didn’t care about any smells from dogs, which there are very many of on our block.
The rabbits will scamper away, when Lila comes out to play!
The rabbits played so happily that I’m expecting to see many more hopping around our neighborhood in the near future. Did you know that one female rabbit can have four sets of babies in one season? The size of her litter can be between one to 15, with an average size of seven.
Last year, many rabbits visited our yard. They ate the zinnias, clematis, and the cone flowers. They ate the row of hostas from our neighbor’s yard, one plant at a time. Those hostas have been growing there untouched for many, many years. Every few days one plant would disappear. We wondered, along with our neighbors, why they were eating so much, especially of things they usually left untouched. We decided the drought made it hard for their other food sources to grow.
Some people might consider it a sign of good luck to see that many rabbits in their yard. Others think it’s bad for their gardens. If we’re lucky, much rain will fall to chase the drought away. But then there might be even more rabbits. 🤔
I think they’re cute, but to be safe, I might just buy hanging baskets this year.
Have you seen any rabbits lately?
May your pockets be heavy and your heart be light, May good luck pursue you each morning and night. ~Irish blessing
Spring sprung for two days Then went off to hibernate We wish it’d spring back!
It’s been a chilly spring in Minnesota.* Mother Nature teased us by giving us a couple of days in the 80 degree range. The daffodil leaves grew high in the garden, but now the buds don’t seem ready to open. It’s as if they’re waiting for the sun to shine before they show their pretty faces. The robins sang excitedly as they snacked on the fallen berries in the front yard about a month ago. Now they quietly hop about with strands of dead grass hanging from their little beaks hoping to build a warmer nest. The worms, like spring, must be hiding now too.
Despite the forecast, live like it’s spring. ~Lilly Pulitzer
* The temperature is 34°F, as I write this. Our high was 38°F today. The average high temperature for April is 55°F. 😏
A couple of years ago, I found a pattern for Marcy on Etsy. She’s quite a cutie, and I wanted to make her for my granddaughter. Soon after I found the pattern, I began crocheting all the parts: body, arms, legs, head, dress, underpants, booties, and bow. The pattern was easy to follow and the parts worked up nicely. However, it’s always a little difficult for me to make the facial features, and I wondered how challenging it would be to get the hair into place. Those fears loomed a little larger with each passing stitch, and I talked myself into thinking that, My granddaughter is still pretty young for this doll. I’ll give it to her for her next birthday. All the parts were placed in a basket and sat collecting dust for a while.
Suddenly, Granddaughter’s next birthday got closer with each passing day. I could wait no longer. I took the basket down from on top of the desk and followed the directions for putting it all together. Then it was time for the hair. After getting each piece into place, I remembered that I should have made adjustments to the pattern because I used a different size crochet hook. The crochet hook was larger, because I used a different kind of yarn. The hair ended up being too short and not lining up as it should have. If I would have completed it when I was in the midst of making it, it would have been done correctly the first time! Luckily, I had enough brown yarn and was able to work out the hair as best I could.
Last year, my granddaughter got her dolly at her birthday party and she hugged it tight!
Nothing is so fatiguing as the eternal hanging on of an uncompleted task… ~William James, 1886
On the third day of our Savannah trip, we found more historic places and learned about interesting people.
This was Juliette Gordon Low’s home, which is across from Lafayette Square. Mrs. Low lived in this house when she founded Girl Scouts. “Juliette Gordon Low (1860–1927), also affectionately known by her nickname “Daisy,” founded Girl Scouts of the USA in 1912. She imagined a movement where all girls could come together and embrace their unique strengths and passions—and as Girl Scouts has done since, she made that dream a reality.”
I never knew her nickname was Daisy! In case you didn’t know, a Daisy is the first stage of being a Girl Scout.
Behind the home is the first Girl Scout headquarters.
The Girl Scout plaque reads:
“The house adjacent to this building was the home of Juliette Gordon Low at the time she founded Girl Scouting in the United States, March 12, 1912. Formerly the carriage-house and stable of the Low Mansion, this building became that year the first Girl Scout headquarters in America.
At the death of Mrs. Low in 1927 the Founder of Girl Scouts of the USA willed the original headquarters to the Girl Scouts of Savannah (now the Girl Scout Council of Savannah, Georgia, Inc.). This building has been continuously used for Girl Scouting longer than any other in this country.”
Another famous person, the author Mary Flannery O’Connor (1925-1964), grew up across from Lafayette Square. Here is a picture of her childhood home.
Did you notice from the photo above that today is Mary Flannery O’Connor’s Birthday?
Flannery O’Connor wrote two novels and 31 short stories. Over the years, I’ve stumbled upon articles about her. Many times, I’ve thought about checking out her books at the library, but I never got around to it. Later that day, we went to the Book Lady Book Store on Liberty Street. As I walked in, I felt as if I was in the middle of a Harry Potter movie. Old books are lined up side-by-side and up and down the shelves. The first book I was drawn to though was a brand new copy of “The Complete Stories of Flannery O’Connor,” my one and only purchase. Later that afternoon, I sat in the hotel to read the first short story, because I thought it would be cool to read part of her book while being in her hometown!
The title of the first story is “The Geranium.” Ms. O’Connor’s writing was not what I expected, but the story definitely has a moral. Flannery O’Connor wrote how people spoke at the time. The tale contains words most of society frowns upon these days, but I will give the rest of the stories a try. I know I will learn something.
While trying to find out more about her, I came across a PBS documentary titled “Uncommon Grace: The Life of Flannery O’Connor.” If you’d like to watch it, click here. Her first brush with fame was when she received attention from the news at the age of six. “Pathé News filmed “Little Mary O’Connor” with her trained chicken and showed the film around the country. She said: ‘When I was six I had a chicken that walked backward and was in the Pathé News. I was in it too with the chicken. I was just there to assist the chicken but it was the high point in my life. Everything since has been an anticlimax.’” You can watch the “Do You Reverse” 1932 film, by clicking here.
Doesn’t she sound like a hoot? I’m looking forward to reading more of her stories. Sadly, she passed away at the age of 39 from lupus. Her doctors told her she had five years to live, but she fought and lived 10 years after her diagnosis. Writing short stories helped bring income in more quickly than writing novels. The documentary states that her stories are timeless since they all have a parable.
Another adventure that day was when we visited a cemetery.
The entrance to Colonial Cemetery. “Erected by Savannah Chapter Daughters of American Revolution 1913. In memory of Patriots of War – American Revolution 1775-1783. Resting in Colonial Cemetery.”
Colonial Park – “This cemetery, the second in Colonial Savannah, was the burial ground for the city from about 1750 until it was closed against burials in 1853.” There are a lot of “distinguished dead” who I am not familiar with. A few very alive people were walking around. A lot of the markers were very difficult to read. The engraving has worn off over the years. Funny how the place did not seem as creepy as the Savannah River, which we visited the day before.
I had the grilled salmon filet, with garlic whipped potatoes, grilled asparagus and adobo cream sauce. My husband had the pork chop with the same sides as mine. We topped it off with the chocolate pecan pie, with berries and cream.
The next day we headed home, but we had time to tour a mansion! Stay tuned…
I find that most people know what a story is until they sit down to write one. ~Flannery O’Connor
Last September, my brother, sister-in-law, husband and I went for a ride to Stillwater to take a cruise on one of the Stillwater River Boats. The traffic was moving along nicely, when we noticed a large sheet of clear plastic dancing around the cars. It formed into a ball and bounced off a few cars in front of us. When we got closer, it spread out like a magic carpet. It slightly skimmed our hood and floated over to the car next to us where it entirely covered their windshield! Luckily, everyone had their wits about them. The driver with the covered windshield pulled over to the side of the road. The drivers behind us slowed down to give them room. We were shocked yet thankful everyone was okay.
When we got to Stillwater, we visited an antique store and saw familiar things from our childhoods. 😉 We stopped at Candyland to pick up popcorn and turtle candies and headed towards the other end of town to the riverboats. A line began to form on the hot asphalt parking lot. We couldn’t wait to get on board. We hoped we could catch a bit of breeze on the top deck under a canopy.
At the top deck, we found a cozy table and settled in with some cold, refreshing beverages. Many boats and jet skis bobbed up and down the river. We admired the new bridge to the south and the old bridge to the north. The Captain began the trip by turning the boat around so it faced in the other direction. The ship headed away from the Stillwater Lift Bridge, which was built in 1931 and is now used as a pedestrian and bike bridge. We floated closer towards the new bridge, St. Croix Crossing, which is located in Oak Park Heights, Minnesota and crosses the St. Croix River to St. Joseph, Wisconsin.
People were welcome to visit the banquet table at any time. We had our fill of chicken, pork roast, potatoes, coleslaw, and a roll with butter and topped it off with a chocolate chip cookie.
By the time we reached the new bridge, large clouds began to accumulate. We wondered if we would get soaked as the blue sky became filled with dark clouds. The lightning traveled on top of one cloud to the next. No thunder rumbled our way, so we stayed on the top deck and watched the lighted homes on the hills pass by.
A little nervous, I made a quick exit to visit the restroom, in case the lightning decided to head our way. When I met up with everyone, we were ready to disembark. No drops of rain met us until we approached our car. We only got a sprinkling. As we drove away from the river, hail plummeted down. The driver kept going as we hoped the hail would lighten. When it did, large and steady raindrops arrived to take its place.
We made it home safely, without a bump on the hood, but found no puddles to greet us. We were glad to have had an exciting adventure to talk about, but I wished we would have gotten some rain in our neighborhood too.
(This post is in response to WordPress #dailyprompt: Think back on your most memorable road trip.)
Last week, Hubby, a/k/a Papa, and I watched our two grandchildren while their mom went to run errands. I desperately wanted to play Chutes & Ladders. It’s a game Papa and I gave the kids for Christmas, but they didn’t want to have anything to do with it. Did they know I truly bought it so I could play it with them?!
We got busy playing hide and seek and checked out the other gifts the kids received, while their two dogs looked on or followed us up the stairs and back down again. After running around, the kids settled down and went to find the crayons, markers, and coloring books in the basement. My grandson drew a treasure map and my granddaughter made a colorful design. While digging through the bin, I found three crayons (blue, red, and green) to use while coloring a page out of a coloring book. My creation was nearly halfway done, when the kids decided to go onto their next activity. Up the stairs they ran. I followed along, leaving my coloring project behind.
Soon I heard a whimpering sound coming from the direction of the basement door. Did I close the door, leaving one of the dogs stuck in the basement? When I got to the door, Leo looked up at me. I opened it to find Kona sitting on the top step. Her tail went thump thump on the stairs. How cute it was to see how Leo looks out for Kona.
The dogs didn’t used to watch out for each other. When Leo joined their family, the summer before last, Kona didn’t seem too excited. The German Shepherd hid in different rooms or on different floors of the house to stay out of the Cockalierpoo’s way. After a few weeks, they became friends and are like two peas in a pod now.
The dogs went outside together for a short time. Before we knew it, Mom was home and we chatted. I reluctantly put Chutes & Ladders back in the cupboard where I found it, because it was time for our visit to come to an end. Maybe we will get to play it next time.
Do you ever buy gifts for other people that you really want? 🙂
(This post is in response to WordPress #dailyprompt: Do you play in your daily life? What says “playtime” to you?)
After tidying up a little after Christmas day, I thought about the cookies and how I wanted to condense them into a smaller container. This year, I baked two kinds: almond and shortbread with sprinkles. I also made Yum Yum Balls,* fudge, and turtle bark (almond bark, caramels, and pecans). My daughter and her children helped by baking and sharing peanut blossoms, molasses, and snow on the mountain cookies. We had a lot of cookies! Each household went home with a filled goodie bag. The few that were left behind were stored safely tucked inside the large tote in the garage. (Some Minnesotans like to store their Christmas cookies that way. Cold garages keep cookies fresh and hidden.)
When I went to the garage and saw the container that I had securely fastened the night before, had come askew, I thought, “I hope there’s not a mouse in there.” I peeked inside, and there he was – a small little guy that scurried to and fro – from one side of the tote to the other. Silly me – I secured the top and brought the mouse and cookies inside the house. Feeling quite flustered, I yelled upstairs, “There’s a mouse in the house!” My husband came running down, while I thought about how dumb it was that I brought the large container inside. I quickly moved it back into the garage. My husband thought a mouse was running around the house. Any person would, right? I explained the situation, and Hubby went into the garage to meet the mouse.
My husband let the mouse out to greet the blustery day. The mouse zipped along the outer edge of the house and disappeared to who knows where. Most of the treats were in tins except for the peanut blossoms and molasses cookies. Upon further inspection, I saw little teeth marks on the plastic bag that held the peanut blossoms. Smart mouse went straight for the peanut butter, but it didn’t look like he got a bite. So much work, with so little reward.
Of course, the cookies in plastic bags had to go in the garbage. I couldn’t help but be angry at myself for not hiding the cookies better, but I thought they’d be safe since the Christmas celebration was over. Everyone seemed as if they got enough to eat! Slowly, I forgave the culprit who didn’t fasten the lid, but I felt bad for the mouse. So many mice are in Christmas stories! Now, the cookies are almost gone, and I wonder… Could I have left the peanut blossoms outside for the little guy?!
Life will be interesting only when there is an element of surprise in it. ~ Hamsalekha
Melt butter. Blend in peanut butter. Stir in Rice Krispies. Work in enough powdered sugar to hold mixture together. Refrigerate one hour; form small balls. Melt chocolate chips and vegetable oil in double boiler. Put chocolate chips and vegetable oil in top of double boiler the same time you put cold water in bottom of double boiler. Dip balls in chocolate (use two spoons to twirl around). Put on wax paper; cool. Enjoy!
Around the time I was nine years old, my mom decided she no longer wanted to deal with a real tree. It was also the time when, a few days before Christmas, Dad placed a huge, beautifully wrapped box topped with a large red bow next to the artificial tree. My mom, two brothers and I were shocked and couldn’t wait to see what was inside. We never recalled a time when Dad got such a large gift for Mom.
Mom had a little spring in her step, after the box appeared. It seemed as if daily chores didn’t seem as tedious, now that she had such a marvelous present sitting by the tree.
Finally, Christmas Day arrived. Even though the present waited by the tree, we continued to follow our custom of eating dinner first, then opening presents. Mom made a turkey with all the fixings. We enjoyed her cooking and stuffed ourselves until we could hardly move. We all felt like we couldn’t take another bite, but we found room to choose a treat from a silver-colored platter that Mom presented to us. It contained Mom’s homemade assortment of cookies, fudge, fruit cake, peanut brittle, and Swiss croffin,* which was a family favorite.
We all wandered to the living room and found our usual spots after the presents were arranged. Mom’s gifts were piled high on top of the big box. We begged her to open it to see what was inside. After she set the smaller packages aside, Mom stood up and ripped the paper off as fast as she could and tossed it aside. As she pulled at the tape that sealed the box, we waited patiently. She peaked inside, looked up at the chandelier with wide eyes, and loudly said, “A vacuum cleaner?” She repeated that phrase over and over again for days, months and even years. The rest of us couldn’t help but laugh. (Sorry, Mom.)
My father was a soft-hearted, yet practical man. He also liked to tease people, so I’m not sure if the present was supposed to be a joke. Joke or not, Dad seemed to learn something from that experience. The rest of the gifts he gave Mom came in much smaller packages! It’s the thought that counts, right? 🙂
Do you have a memory of when someone you know received a shocking gift that continues to bring a smile to your face?
Wishing you a very Merry Christmas, filled with presents in smaller packages!
* Swiss croffin, or Swiss kuchli, is the size of a small donut and is a pear-filled pastry. It contains anise seed, dried pears, walnuts, and sugar. The mixture is simmered for two hours. After cooking, the water is drained. The mixture is mashed and placed in a pie crust that is separated with a cookie cutter. Each pastry is sealed and fried in a deep fryer until lightly brown. The last step is to cover it all with powdered sugar. I’ve never made this recipe, because of my fear of deep fryers! Plus, it’s a lot of work.
When our daughter Katie was 10 years old or so, she proceeded to tell me about her school day, while I was busy getting dinner ready. I nodded and replied with my usual “uh-huhs” at what I thought were the appropriate instances. Those instances were in between her breaths and in between my chopping of vegetables. I tried to get the vegetables chopped while trying to listen, but Katie noticed my lack of attention. She abruptly stopped talking, looked at me and said, “Mom, you’re not listening with your eyes.”
It was a true statement, which made me think back to the best piece of advice I’ve ever received. The advice was from my husband’s grandmother. She once told me to “Always listen to your children no matter what you’re doing. If you do that, you shouldn’t have any problems. It worked for me,” she said. Plus, the words “listen with your eyes” are from an old song sung by Peggy Lee entitled, I Can Sing a Rainbow. When I was younger, I played that tune so many times on my Mom and Dad’s phonograph it got embedded into my memory. Once the song was over, I lifted the arm and situated the needle back to the beginning of that song. At that time, I didn’t know it would become a favorite lullaby for me to share in my future days with my lovely children. I didn’t think of it as a lullaby back when I played it on the phonograph. I mostly liked how Ms. Lee sang the song, which is quite different from her other tunes.
I said, “You’re right, Katie.” I left the vegetables by themselves and sat down at the kitchen table next to her. I looked into her eyes and said, “I’m listening now.” Dinner got on the table a little later than usual, but I heard every word. I’m unable to recall what the conversation was about, but I remember it was important. It reminded me to listen with my eyes.
Have you ever heard that old song? I like how it gets sung to our grandchildren now! You never know when you’re learning something even if you’re just doing it for fun… What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
“Silent” and “listen” are spelled with the same letters. ~Author unknown
P.S. Today, I couldn’t think of anything to write, so I went to Writer’s Digest Presents A Year of Writing Prompts, by Brian A. Klem and Zachary Pettit. “April 24 – What’s the Best Advice You’ve Received? Everyone is always offering advice on everything. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?”